Mr. No-Good

March 15, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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I had been living alone for over a year. The divorce was a difficult one but, since the scumbag ran off with another woman, at least I got the house. It was a modest ranch home with a lot of acreage, though surrounded by woods and the grounds were in serious need of repair. I had always wanted one of those husbands that cherished their home, mowed the lawn and liked to fix things. Unfortunately, he became more of a lazy bum that was more interested in the bottle. I could not really afford to hire anyone to fix up the place, so it just slowly started looking worse and worse for wear.

After the divorce I tried to fix things up myself. I weeded and worked my petite butt off to make a nice garden right in front of my big front bay window. It still did not look great; the beauty of the bright flowers was surrounded by rotted wood and unkempt landscape. At least I tried, and I was proud of my little garden. I tended to it every day. If I could not make the whole place beautiful, at least I had my one little spot that I could focus on, and block out all the muck that surrounded me (both literally and symbolically I guess).

It was only about a month or so after creating my wonderful “masterpiece” that I arrived home from the grocery store to trampled flowers. I dropped my bags filled with fruit and frozen items, and ran over to the sad looking little garden. “That no-good, worthless, nasty man must have done this!” I thought. He was probably trying to peek into my windows to spy on me! “No…” I then retracted “it was probably just some animals or something”.

The next day I went to the market and got myself a little border fence for my garden, only about a foot high. I placed it around the garden in front of my bay window, tended to the wilted plants that could be salvaged, and started it anew. There were no critters (human or animal) that could keep me from having this one nice thing!

Unfortunately, as time went on, every week or so I would or wake up to trampled flowers. Whatever was getting over that fence had to be pretty large…like a dog or…a 180 pound man. I would fix my garden every time this happened, but I was becoming more and more suspicious of my ex-husband. What could he possibly want though? He had moved on and moved in with his new tramp almost immediately, so why would he care what I was up to?

Then, one morning, I saw it. I walked out to get my mail and the flowers were trampled again, only this time I could see a boot print in the soil. I just knew it was that no-good, so-called man! He must be going through the garden at night to peer at me through the windows!

After seeing the boot print, I was so mad, I called him up and started to yell at him and demanded my privacy. Of course he claimed he did not know what I was talking about, but eventually he agreed to give me the privacy and to never come around again. Being the no-good man that he is, I didn’t completely believe him, so I got myself ready and went to the store immediately after hanging up the phone. I got myself some big curtains to that big bay window. Now, even if he came by again, he would not be able to see me.

A few days later when I saw the trampled flowers (even though I had to dig them all up and replace them this time since they were completely destroyed), I had to laugh because I knew he made the trip in vain and he could not see me this time! It looked like he had a fit too, because I had never seen the area so destroyed! I did not care this time though, because I had won! He thought he was being sneaky, but I found him out and foiled his plan…whatever that plan was. I then went back to the store and bought myself new flowers for my garden.

Everything was good for about a month or so. I saw no evidence of Mr. no-good spying on me. There was one thing though….

Every night, before bed, I made SURE to close those curtains. Then, upon waking, I would sometimes find them open. I could only imagine that I had forgotten to close them the night before, with all the stress I have been under of course, but I could have SWORN I had always closed them. I shook it off though, and blamed it on simple forgetfulness.

Then, one morning, I woke up and opened my bedroom door to find the hallway rug covered in dirt. I followed the trail of dirt to my front door. I couldn’t believe it! That no-good man must have made a spare key before handing his over to me. At this point I was both furious and a bit frightened. Why is he so determined to spy on me? What could he possibly want? It must be the house! He isn’t happy in the trailer with his little tramp, and he is trying to find a way to get me out! At that point I decided I would change the locks, and if I ever sense, even in the slightest, that he is still spying on me, I will call the police.

I changed the locks that very day, and felt content that Mr. No-Good’s spying days were finally over. Before bed I made SURE to close the curtains and lock all the windows and doors. The next morning, I awoke to nothing unusual. I opened the curtains and could see my beautiful flowers untouched and there was nothing in the house to indicate an unwanted visitor. If he had come by, he obviously realized what happened and went home!

I began my day as usual, and then went out to tend to my garden. From afar everything looked wonderful. As I knelt down to begin my work I noticed something unusual, it was a dead field mouse laying in the dirt. “Yuck” I thought and went to pick it up to dispose of it out in the woods that began a few yards from my house. As I went to toss the tiny carcass into the dark patch of trees, I noticed what looked like red paint on a few of the trees near where Mr. No-good had built his cheapo, and now run-down storage shed. Upon closer inspection, I saw some animal carcasses, like raccoons and possums, even something that looked like a deer.

My heart dropped into my stomach at this point. No coyote was making a meal here, it was definitely a person. Someone was living in that storage shed. My mind was racing as I ran back into the house. Was this who was watching me all this time? Who was coming into my home?

As I ran into my house and slammed the door behind me, the thought hit me. “Oh my God, he has been in my house” I said out loud. He could be in here right now. I knew at this point I had to make a decision to run outside to my car, or run to the phone that was in my bedroom and call the police. I did not feel safe inside my house, but I did not feel safe out there either. I decided to run to the car and get away. I would then find the nearest person or payphone to call the police.

I opened the door a crack and looked out, it looked so peaceful, but I knew he was out there (or in here somewhere). Then I made a run for my car, which was about 25 feet from the house. I opened the car door, jumped in and slammed the door shut only to realize “You idiot, you don’t have your keys!”

That was when I saw him. I could see him in my rear-view mirror as he rose from the back seat and smiled at me. I screamed and he grabbed me, telling me that I had to be quiet, that no one could hear my screams anyway. He pulled me in the back seat, I could see the knife in a pocket holster and I reached for it. He got to it before I did, held it out, and told me that he just wanted to talk. He would never hurt me because he loved me. With no real choice, I listened to him, and I agreed with everything he said…. to humor him of course. I did not want to make him mad.

Now, I am living in a huge, beautiful home in a gated community in the suburbs. I could not believe when the police came to my door that night. They told me that my poor poor ex-husband and his sweet new wife were murdered in their sleep in their trailer a few miles away. Apparently there was some sicko, who had murdered his brother and his brother’s wife, that escaped from prison and he was living in the woods near my house. He had some sort of obsession with me, and had been stalking me. I couldn’t believe it! I suppose he went to kill my ex-husband because of his love for me. I just feel absolutely terrible, and the police even had to relocate me for my safety. They put me in this lovely new house, far far away from my old life. I have a huge house, a beautiful pool, a lovely grand garden, and a small little guest house in the back. Apparently the murderer is still out there somewhere. They fear he will still be looking for me, and so I always leave my door open just in case. I really can’t stand these new neighbors of mine.

Credit To – Bpaige

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On the Disappearance of Aaron Barclay

March 10, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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On the Disappearance of Aaron Barclay

There was an interesting item in the Oakland Tribune some time ago. Apparently a young man, one named Aaron Barclay, had gone missing. Mr. Barclay had been attending the Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco and vanished a week before final exams. Some say he killed himself due to the pressures of law school. Such a thing is not uncommon, after all. The proximity of the Golden Gate Bridge, one of the most popular suicide destinations in the world, lends some support to this theory. Others, however, believe Barclay to have run away and point to the lack of a body as evidence. Furthermore, the apartment identified by the police as Barclay’s was left in a state of disarray. The room apparently looked as if the occupant had left in a hurry packing a few things for whatever journey he intended. Nevertheless, no sightings of Mr. Barclay have been reported and police say it is far more likely he is actually dead. Other more imaginative individuals insist that this was all a stupid prank, that Mr. Barclay is fine and probably living in some backcountry town away from the prying eyes of the city.

The subsequent investigation uncovered next to nothing regarding Aaron Barclay’s whereabouts. Only one clue, if it can be called that, was ever found. This “clue” consisted of a multi-page, handwritten letter stashed underneath the seat of a charter bus bound for Salt Lake City, weeks after Mr. Barclay first went missing. Though thoroughly questioned, the bus driver could not provide any information regarding the circumstances of the letter or the whereabouts of Mr. Barclay. This was partly due to the many stops the bus made in Sacramento, Reno and other cities. Many still wonder he ever actually boarded the bus. Forensic analysis of the handwriting later confirmed it to be Mr. Barclay’s though there are naysayers who insist otherwise. Fortunately, handwriting experts later confirmed that the handwriting truly was Mr. Barclays. Now, the letter itself is interesting. The writer, presumably Mr. Barclay, insists he is sane; however, the contents of the letter suggests otherwise. Mr. Barclay was clearly too ashamed to admit the peculiar fixation he had with a certain female professor and too paranoid to have correctly interpreted the events of which he writes. The letter is likely an attempt to rationalize his obsession with the woman. Mr. Barclay’s letter is transcribed in full below.

The Letter of Aaron Barclay

My name is Aaron Barclay and I’m not crazy. Really, I’m not. To anyone who reads this, please understand at least that. I don’t suffer from some childhood trauma that makes me see things that aren’t really there. Schizophrenia or any other major mental problems do not run in my family. I don’t do drugs and drink only occasionally. Please remember that as you read what I’ve written down… My god, I miss my life from before… before I knew. See, ignorance is a beautiful thing. It really is bliss. I didn’t realize that until it was too late. Now I’m on the run from those eyes. I see them in my dreams, in the dark, in the mirror. I know how this all must sound, but bear with me. Ask yourself if some lunatic can recall and write down their recent experiences as coherently as I will.

It started with civ pro, short for civil procedure. I just started my first year of law school and civil procedure is one of the required classes for first year students. The class is about lawsuits and how they work. It’s also famous for being one of the most boring classes a law student can take. Seriously, the class should be patented as a cure for insomniacs. Making it even worse was the fact that my specific class began at 8:30 pm. I heard it was the only class that met so late which made it that much worse. I had all my other classes in the morning and early afternoon; so when Tuesday and Thursday hit, I was stuck in school killing time until my civ pro class started. I usually spent the time studying and relaxing at a Starbucks close by. That wasn’t the only difference between civ pro and the rest of my classes; criminal law, torts and contracts were all much more interesting. We spent time learning about murder, celebrity contracts and negligence, things that would spark any student’s interest.

Civ pro, on the other hand, sucked. Learning about personal jurisdiction, proper venue and discovery limitations made it hard to stay awake in class. I hated it. I never paid attention to the Professor Dunn in Civ Pro. I spent the class browsing the latest news to make the time pass by faster. I even got away with playing computer games a few times. Dunn would post the power point slides on the internet; that’s how I got away with the lack of attention in class.

My current situation started one day when I heard some chatter about Professor Dunn. I think it was some time towards the end of September, the half-way point of the semester. I was walking past the 2nd floor student lounge where other law students came in to socialize, read for class and eat an occasional lunch. I will always remember gripping the metal handle of the door leading to an adjacent room and stopping to hear Kaitlyn gossiping with her friends. Kaitlyn was the obligatory suck up every class had. She probably still is even now. Every day, Kaitlyn would torture the entire class with the sound of her voice as she constantly sucked up to Professor Dunn. Always raising her hand with something meaningless to say. She obviously enjoyed the sound of her own voice which made it worse because she had this stupid high-pitched voice of a 3 year old girl. I don’t think there was a single person in our class who could tolerate Kaitlyn except her own posse.

Anyway, I remember overhearing Kaitlyn talking to one of friends about Professor Dunn that day. Only she wasn’t so much as talking as whispering. She had one hand up to her mouth and constantly glanced around to make sure no one could hear her. I don’t know if it was embarrassment or something else but she obviously didn’t want what she said becoming common knowledge. I let go of the door handle and leaned in a bit to catch what she was saying. I pulled out my phone and pretended to text someone as I listened. She was locked in a conversation about Professor Dunn, giddy with the excitement of a teenager on prom night. She talked about Dunn’s eyes, hair and voice with a breathy whisper. One of her idiot friends nodded in agreement and mentioned something about many other students also feeling the same way about Professor Dunn. Kaitlyn threw the girl a dirty look as if annoyed at the thought of competing for Dunn’s attention. In fact, everything about her suggested she would have had Dunn’s baby right then and there if her biology allowed her to.

Something about that scene that still rubs me the wrong way. Like cold fingers touching my spine. Maybe it was the way that murderous look distorted Kaitlyn’s face at that moment. Or the way Kaitlyn tightened her grip on her pen and held it like a knife for a split-second. Either way, the scene chilled me. I wanted to listen some more, but I suddenly noticed Kaitlyn and her posse glaring at me. I jerked around and stumbled out of sight. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the girls picking up their things and marching towards the exit. I rolled my eyes and ignored them as I continued on towards the school library. I deposited that scene into the back of my mind and didn’t think twice about it for some time. It hadn’t clicked yet.

A few weeks later I experienced a bizarre incident with two buddies of mine. The three of us decided to book a study room in the library to try and get some studying done for the upcoming midterm in our criminal law class. I was running a little late due to some stupid delay on BART. I walked down past the empty study rooms towards the only lit one at the end of the hall. As I walked closer, I began to hear the voices of Connor and Mac. At the mention of Dunn’s name, my feet suddenly froze as my back pressed up against wall next to the room Conner and Mac were talking in. Every study room in the library was fronted by glass window enabling those within to see outside. For some reason, almost by instinct, I did not want either of them to know I was there. I set my backpack down and clung against the wall making sure I couldn’t be seen. Both Connor and Mac were discussing Dunn’s looks. Kaitlyn’s conversation from a while back sprung to mind as the discussion drifted toward Dunn’s eyes, hair and voice. Weird thing was, they spoke in the same breathy whispers Kaitlyn did. I tried convincing myself that this was just simple sexual attraction despite a curious tone of obsession in both their voices.

I decided I had heard enough. I picked up my backpack and walked up to the glass door and opened it. Mac and Connor’s heads jolted up as their hands fell from their mouths. After realizing it was just me, they immediately flipped opened their textbooks and began talking about the felony murder rule. I mentioned hearing them talk about Dunn and joked that I wouldn’t judge them. Neither one of them really denied it but they didn’t really admit it either. Mac just sat there shaking his head while Connor blubbered something about liking her as a teacher and quickly changed the subject back to felony murder.

I never really thought much of Professor Dunn’s looks, I mean, she definitely didn’t have super model looks but she also wasn’t ugly either. I was letting them know what I though when they both looked up at me and just stared, unblinking. I sat across the table looking back and unsure of what to say next. The moment didn’t last long and I finally relaxed when both Mac and Connor let out slow breaths. I told them to forget about it and asked that we continue studying. I noticed both of them unclench their fists under the table as the creases on their foreheads disappeared. I thought of a leopard changing its mind about pouncing on its prey. I wonder now just how close I was to getting a few limbs broken.

After Mac and Connor, I never really heard any more similar conversations. But I don’t think it was because they stopped happening. I began to notice more conversations in hushed tones and the occasional glance in my direction. I’m sure I saw a finger or two pointed towards me a few times as well. Conversations about Professor Dunn seemed oddly absent. It was now that she began to intrigue me. I realized I never really paid any attention in civ pro much less to Professor Dunn. The class was just too dry for me and I had better things to do. I resolved pay more attention to and observe Dunn more carefully. I wanted to know what was so enthralling about her.

The next class, I came a little earlier than usualand sat down waiting for 8:30pm to hit. This time, I did not bring my laptop, choosing a pencil and a notebook instead. Professor Dunn swaggered into class at exactly 8:30. She calmly set down her notes, turned on the projector and began to lecture on amending complaints after they were filed with the court. Despite the boring subject, I managed to keep my head up and began to study Professor Dunn from my seat in the back of the room. As I thought before, she didn’t exactly have super model looks, but she was definitely not ugly, more like plain-looking. She was fairly skinny but not curvy. Her straight brown hair seemed almost too straight and when she walked up towards the back of the room, I noticed a curious lack of any skin blemishes. Not a zit, freckle, mole, or any other kind of mark whatsoever. It seemed almost inhuman, as if she were a living barbie doll. She also had no makeup on. Her skin, her face… everything was naturally flawless; they were not just hiding behind sheen of makeup.

I almost didn’t realize I was staring until she turned her head in my direction while lecturing. That’s when I really noticed her eyes. It felt like the heat of a desert sun blasting down on me. That’s the best I can describe them. Her eyes just stared too, with aimless purpose and completely devoid of life. My head twitched as I turned back toward my notes and still felt the heat blaring down on me. I wonder if that’s how a mouse feels when confronted by a cat.

Dunn finally turned away and walked towards the front of the class; it was then that I noticed my shivering hands and the beads of sweat forming on my forehead. John, the guy next to me looked at me and quietly asked if I was sick or something. I responded by standing up and staggering out the back door toward the bathroom. I opened the door, stood in front of the mirror, and steadied myself against the counter. At that time, I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I’m not that kind of guy to just collapse under someone’s stare like that. I used to win those staring contests all the time as a kid. Why was Professor Dunn’s stare so different? Those eyes. My god, those eyes. The way she stared at me, I felt molested, violated in some way. I knew I had to go back into class, but my feet cemented themselves to the floor. There was just no way I could go back in with class in session.

Luckily, I ran out just a few minutes before the end of class. I checked the time on my cell phone and decided to go back in a minute or two after class ended. I marched towards the class, opened the door and without looking at anyone, picked up my notes and backpack and nearly raced out of the classroom. Good thing it was Thursday, I didn’t have to worry about going back to class for another five days. Too bad Professor Dunn began to invade my thoughts after that class. I wasn’t able to study felt like I failed the midterm when Saturday came.

Our midterm grades were posted the following weekend and gave me some hope; I got a C.. Sunday night, I decided to go to Dunn’s office hours and ask for some tips to prepare for the final. I managed to somehow rationalize this meeting by minimizing what happened the previous Thursday. I told myself to grow some balls; after all, it’s just Professor Dunn. What’s she going to do? Rape me? I pulled out the class syllabus and looked up her office hours. Her only office hours were Monday evening, same time as our class met on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I worried about my grades. About a third of the students are automatically failed the first semester; I didn’t want to be one of them. Also, my scholarship would last only so long as I maintained a B average.

Now here’s the thing. I can’t remember exactly what happened that night. That memory feels like a fog. I remember walking up to Dunn’s office, knocking on the door and being invited in. I also remember having a… pleasant conversation. I don’t remember exactly what happened. But it’s not like I lost my memory. I remember her office perfectly. I remember the books lining the shelf behind her. I even remember what Dunn wore that night, black slacks with some fancy white top and a black tie. But other than that, I just can’t remember exactly what happened; I just remember having a pleasant conversation with Dunn.

That’s the other thing. Describing that meeting as a pleasant conversation is too perfect, almost as if what happened that night is the exact definition of pleasant conversation. It fits too well. I don’t know. It doesn’t make sense to me even now. The funny thing is that that’s exactly how the memories of all my subsequent visits to Dunn’s office feel. I can remember what happened after and before but not what happened during that meeting in Dunn’s office. And only the words “pleasant conversation” come up when I try to remember what happened during those visits. That’s about all I know even now.

One thing I do remember is a slight twinge of disappointment while walking out of her office after the meeting; the meeting ending too quickly for me and for some reason I wanted it to go on longer. I wanted the pleasant conversation to continue. What really bothers me now is from that point, I began to look forward to my civ pro. I never liked civ pro and the thought of that class sickened me. Yet there I was getting butterflies in my stomach at the thought of going to civ pro. I didn’t even realize how weird that was at the time. Only when looking back on it now can I see it. The days passed by and I began to enjoy going to civ pro. Not just enjoy it but long for it. It got to a point where going to the bathroom during class or being late to class felt like a death sentence. I’m thinking of one Thursday evening as I’m writing this.

I was riding BART into the city and apparently there was a delay. A dog or a cat was on the tracks and some person thought it was a good idea to chase after it. The train was moving slowly in an attempt to keep from running over anything. I checked the time every couple of minutes; the thought of being late unnerved me. When the train began to slow down at my station, I grabbed my backpack and text book, stood up and started to walk toward the train doors. My heart fell into my stomach when I saw this old handicapped woman in a wheelchair right in front of the door. The train stopped and the doors opened up. The woman decided now would be a good time to start picking up her shopping bags up off the floor. I watched her trembling hands move slowly as they picked up one bag, made sure nothing was missing, set it onto her lap and moved back down to pick up the other bag. I checked the time and saw that class would start in one minute; it was about a five minute walk to school. The thought of missing even four minutes of Dunn’s presence produced a huge lump in my throat.

It’s hard to explain what happened next. My hands began to move without my command and they both latched on to the woman’s wheelchair. I kind of grabbed, kind of shoved the wheelchair over to the side and then kicked it away. There was a gasp from bystanders as I cleared my way and .raced out the door. As soon as I escaped the train, I ran up the escalator barely noticing the old woman sprawled out on the floor and the string of four-letter words that followed. The whole situation just didn’t register to me as inappropriate. In fact, at the time I blamed the woman for her misfortune. Didn’t the old hag realize I was late? She had no right to keep me from Professor Dunn’s class. It was later that night that my assault on the old woman came back to haunt me. What the hell was I doing? Why was I so obsessed with Professor Dunn? I felt like I had no idea who she was even after all the office visits and lectures.

I later found out more than I wanted to, though it was by accident. About a week ago, I walked out of Professor Dunn’s office with a huge smile on my face. The kind a six-year old has Christmas Eve. In fact, for the first time, this office visit seemed upgraded from the “pleasant conversation” level of the earlier visits. Coupled with feeling of ecstasy was the knowledge that this was the last time Professor Dunn would be holding office hours this semester. We would have a week off to study before finals.

I walked out of the office and toward the bathroom; I didn’t want to end up pissing myself on the train ride home. Sitting there on the toilet, my mind drifted once again to Professor Dunn. Even then I couldn’t say I was attracted to her. Attraction implies something sexual and this just felt different, more like being pulled by gravity. Smaller objects gravitate towards bigger objects in space; the moon towards the earth and the earth towards the sun. I felt like the moon caught in Dunn’s orbit. The thought of not seeing her again made my chest beat harder and my teeth grind.

It was in this state of mind that I began thinking of following Professor Dunn home to see where she lived. Despite myself, I decided this would be a good idea. Dunn did mention that she was living in the city for the time being. I opened the bathroom door only to see Professor Dunn strut out of her office and turn in the other direction towards the door leading to stairs to the first floor. I pushed the bathroom door wider and walked out leaving globs of sweat on the door handle. I crept out of the bathroom toward Professor Dunn’s direction trying to stay in the shadows. I didn’t think it would be a good idea for her to see me. It was bad enough dealing with this weird obsession without having others catch on; wearing the stalker label wasn’t something I found very pleasant.

Dunn reached the exit door, walked through and began descending the staircase. I pulled my hoodie over my arms as I caught up to the door and nudged it open. I heard the clacking of high heels on the stairs below. Slipping through the door, I half walked and half crawled down the stairs in an attempt at silence. I heard the exit door slam shut a floor below me and just barely conceal a low growl. At first I thought the growl came from right below me. My feet froze in place and I halted for a few seconds waiting to throw up my fear. Now that I think about it, growl isn’t really the perfect word. It was more like the grumbling of a stomach or something growling from inside a stomach.

Some deep breaths later I pressed onward down the stairs with some speed in order to keep up with Dunn. I arrived at the exit door and waited for Dunn’s clacking outside to distance itself. When I could barely hear it I opened the door and stepped into the alley. The alley was empty as I walked toward the corner of my school building. I noticed the absence of the security guard that usually stands by that corner during the day. I guess they aren’t paid to stand guard late at night. I could still hear those heels in the distance and I leaned over and peeked around the corner.

I saw a young woman walk past Dunn in a hurry and almost missed the way Dunn slightly reached out and just barely touch the woman’s hand. The clacking of the high heels stopped as the woman jerked around to meet Dunn’s stony gaze. The two stared at each other and I saw that look again on Dunn’s face, that predatory stare of cat having cornered a mouse. Without a single word, Dunn’s hand shot out and grabbed the woman’s arm. There was no scream, no gasp of surprise, nothing as Dunn led the woman onto the darkened terrace of a closed up shop. I snuck across the alley towards the shop to get a better view and crouched down behind a stone bench. I leaned over to one side and watched the unfolding scene some distance from the shop.

The woman looked mesmerized and, except for a slight smile, her face was blank. Dunn’s arms wrapped themselves around the woman as she began to kiss her. Or at least, that’s what was supposed to looked like. From my vantage point, the woman’s head was turned at too awkward an angle for a kiss but any other person walking by would have only seen two women kissing. The odd angle of the woman’s neck made me wonder if Professor Dunn had snapped her neck or something. I swallowed the lump in my throat and fought the urge the jump up and run. They stood in that position for a few seconds when Dunn pulled her head back and I watched her mouth open. And open and open and open. Her mouth was opened wider than was humanly possible. Like a snake with its jaw unhinged. I swear I saw more teeth than I was supposed to. It was… wrong.

Dunn’s open maw inched closer toward the woman’s head and my ears picked up a slight gasp paired with a low growl. It was too much. I winced at the sight and inadvertently banged my knee against the bench. I had this metal pin in my knee from an accident I had as a kid and it shifted when I banged my knee. A shotgun blast of pain knocked me to the ground as my phone fell out of my pocket and clattered onto the cement. Dunn’s head jerked in my direction, her jaw still open. Her eyes, God, those eyes, they zeroed in on me with laser precision, like she knew all along I was there. I swear I would have been devoured at that moment. That mouth and thousand teeth would have come after me if the suited man hadn’t been walking down the street. As soon as he came into view, the thing that was Professor Dunn closed her mouth and began to actually kiss the woman to avoid suspicion. This was my chance. I scrambled to pick up my phone as I jumped to my feet and hobbled toward the BART station. Somehow I managed to escape the scene.

Now, I don’t know who or what the hell Professor Dunn is but I know that I’m not going anywhere near that school or even that city. I don’t care about finals, I don’t care about law school; I just want to get away. Whoever Dunn is, she can find me if I stay here. She can probably find out where I live; she probably already knows where I live. Who knows what I told her during those goddamn “pleasant conversations”. I can almost feel her eyes on me, staring, watching even now. Hopefully this message gets out to someone who cares. I’m not staying in this area for another second. Even now I wonder if she was playing me, making me think I had snuck up on her. I can’t help shake this feeling that she wanted me to see that, so that I will know what is coming for me. Fuck knowledge, Fuck my curiosity. Ignorance really is bliss.

-End of letter

The attention surrounding Aaron Barclay’s disappearance died down after months of no progress. However, about a month ago, another newsworthy incident appeared in the Sacramento Bee. Some of the more conspiratorial followers of this case insist this incident reported in the Sacramento Bee is linked to the disappearance of Aaron Barclay. Apparently, a hotel owner in Placerville, California had discovered a collection of bones in the dumpster behind his hotel. The bones were said to belong to a young male. According to the finder, these bones were also picked clean and littered with teeth marks. The bones were sent to the local coroner who believed the teeth marks belonged to a wild animal. The coroner then concluded that the victim had an fatal encounter with a bear. Unfortunately, the bones were somehow lost or misplaced and local rumors mentioning a metal pin lodged in one of the bones could not be substantiated.

The professor mentioned in the story, Jamie Rebecca Dunn was questioned by the police shortly after the letter was discovered. She was quickly ruled out as a suspect for undisclosed reasons. As a visiting professor to Golden Gate University, Dunn eventually moved back to her hometown in Texas at the end of the semester. Further attempts to contact Ms. Dunn have gone unanswered. And of course, there is the usual group of so-called “paranormal investigators” that draw the worst possible conclusions: Mr. Barclay was silenced for seeing too much or Mr. Barclay had an encounter with some kind of paranormal creature. These conclusions are best ignored as products of ignorant and overly imaginative minds. Unfortunately for Mr. Barclay, the lack of any evidence regarding his whereabouts will likely doom him to a footnote in the growing list of unsolved missing persons cases.

Credit To – Jacques LaQroix

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Be Right Back

March 6, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Skype is a pretty useful tool to me. I’m an artist, so I tend to use my hands a lot and skype lets me talk without having to hold a phone. Guess I’m just too much of a multitasker for my own good. But, whether or not it was a good quality I sure valued it.

Tonight was really no different. My friend Kylie got on, she was telling me about the potential new, boyfriend. Apparently, he had all of the important qualities: a six pack and blue eyes. Personally, I value having a good conversation with whoever I decide to pursue in that way. So for me, intellegence just trumped the six pack. I needed someone who was on my level. Kylie was just not that way.

I digress though. Kylie was just getting done with a paper she had been writing, both of us were college students at the University of NC Pembroke. It probably makes no sense that we didn’t just get together and do our homework if we were going to talk on skype anyway, but it did to me. The physical separation prevented the distraction of a party or social activity which would distract me. Kylie was a lot of fun to be around but education always comes first.

“Did you hear about the crazy things going on?” My focus on the woodcut I was working on caused a lag in my response. The woodcut for Intro to Printmaking, the one form of art I absolutely loathed. Not in the way you’d think, Printmaking is a beautiful art form and all, it’s just tedious. I am a digital artist and so I just don’t want to spend so much time on one line that has to be made right the first time.

“What crazy things?” I asked at last. Kylie was a theatre major, and her arm expressions tended to showcase that. At this particular moment she was holding them up to signify the importance of what she was saying.

“Apparently, there’s been students that have been going missing.”

“Missing? Are you sure it’s not just people trying to get an early spring break?” My question was a logical one, Midterms were next week.

“Lys this sounds serious. All of them have been seen going back to the dorm right before they disappear. You remember Summer?” I struggled to remember. A pale girl with blue eyes and dark hair with a slightly plump stomach crossed my mind’s vision.

“The girl who thinks that copying Vera Bradley patterns is art?” That was a little mean, but Summer had made it very clear she was not fond of me in our drawing class.

“I guess… you know more about that than I do. She’s on the floor right below mine. Apparently she left her boyfriend Rody at his room. He said he saw her go in and that’s the last anyone has seen of her.” I shrugged as my wood carving tool pulled up a wood chunk.

“Maybe she’s sick.” I blurted.
“For a whole week?” Kylie retorted.
“Well everyone’s been sick because of the glorious North Carolina weather,” I joked.
“Heh, I guess you could be right. They said 5 students went missing in Oak Hall, and now two in Cypress,” she continued.
“Eh sounds like the flu to me.” I shrugged off.
“Ya know if we were in a horror movie you’d be that logical dad that gets everyone killed,” Kylie teased.
“Well seeing as I’m very much a girl that dad thing would be pretty miraculous.” I joked back.
“I’ll be right back I gotta grab my RA real quick.” she blurted, voices in the background.

“Ah at last you’re going to do something about the furniture movers in the upstairs floor.” I replied.
“Yeah, I’m gonna need the noise to stop after 12.” she laughed. She glided off the screen, leaving behind the pink bedsheets and pillows to keep me company. I noted that I heard something like her opening the door and then a muffled “HEY!” I laughed to myself, taking a moment to rest my hands. I examined them, feeling my fingers cramp at the intense work they’d been doing. I looked at the foot I’d been carving up and felt discouraged knowing it just wasn’t the best of my work.

The sounds of shuffling caused me to look up. I was certain I was gonna see Kylie sitting in front of me, but there still was the pink sheets and pillows. Then the lights went out. I can’t really explain the discomfort I felt. For all I knew Kylie was just changing into pajamas or whatever. Call it intuition, but I just felt like something was not right.

It was then I heard the breathing. It was deep and dry, it sounded like whoever it was had been going on without water. I felt as though the breathing had forced me to sync up my own breathing. I was paralyzed, my body betraying me. I literally felt heavier, like I was carrying a 40 pounds that was hindering any movement. I felt cold chills clutch my spine and yank relentless as the breathing grew louder like a terrifying game of Marco Polo.

I know what you’re thinking: You weren’t in the room. It didn’t matter, whatever was in Kylie’s room had a presence that invaded all occupying space, even the floor between us. It was then I realized the bedsheets were beginning to move, the breathing turning into a series of low growls. I decided for some unknown reason to mute my microphone. I don’t know why I did this, some hope that I could separate myself from the powerful unseen entity in Kylie’s room. The springs began to squeak. But the breath was louder than before. Fear overtook me as I become certain I was going to see a face which would suck life from me.

“I caught you!” I screamed realizing the voice was beside me which caused Kylie to jump back from me. She gave me a confused look as she stood over my shoulder. I had fallen from my desk chair, tumbled over and tangled in extension cords and various chargers. She helped me up apologizing. I felt a small relief as I got back in my chair, a relief that left as quick as it came.

Both of us were staring at the screen in terror. On the other side, brightened by the glow of the laptop was a man. His eyes were unnatural black brought on by the black circles painted around them. The mouth was painted over white, with black lines drawn across. As my terror overwhelmed me I began to realize why the white and black pattern on his face seemed so familiar. It was a skull painted across his face. He was watching us, fully aware of our presence, His head resting on his palm as he relaxed into her bed. He blinked, hiding his already dark eyes as if they were holes in his face.

The sound of jingling keys was suddenly adamant, a female voice on the other end. Kylie’s hand gripped my shoulder causing my body to jerk in terror.

“It’s Lydia,” Kylie said, “She’s back from the party. She doesn’t know.” I unmuted the microphone in a panic frenzy.

“LYDIA GET OUT OF THERE!” I yelled. The man turned back to me, throwing the laptop on the ground. The screen was suddenly fuzzy, but I could see flip flop adorned feet enter the room and the light from the outside hall disappear as she closed the door behind her.

“Ugh, hold on Don. Kylie why is your laptop on the floor? Are you insane?” Lydia bent down and suddenly I could see her blue eyes and now washed out complexion.

“Lydia I’m here! Get out of the room right now!” Kylie screeched from beside me. Lydia’s eyes widened as she registered what she was seeing.

The man’s face appeared behind her causing us to scream. We watched in absolute terror as he pulled out a knife, covering her mouth and a struggle ensued. The laptop was dropped the sounds of the struggle continued and muffling whimpers. The sound of the knife contacting flesh and bone was heard. Then we saw her flip flopped feet. They wiggled uncontrollably for several moments before they stopped suddenly. Blood dripped onto her painted toes, and I felt my voice leave me. I looked to Kylie, tears were pouring down her face. She crouched beside me, when suddenly the feet disappeared from the shot. We heard shuffling for moments. Why we didn’t call the cops then I’ll never know. Like I said, it was like we were frozen by the presence of that evil.

The sounds stopped. It felt like we sat in hours in silence, but it couldn’t have been more than minutes. Kylie’s crying became vocal beside me, she began balling loudly as terror seeped into our beings. I grabbed her hand hoping it would be some comfort. How wrong I was.

In a swift movement the laptop was moved and all we saw was blur. It rested on the opposite bed looking back at Kylie’s bed. The light of the laptop faded off where we couldn’t see anything on the opposite side. The sounds of the footfall leaving the room caught our attention, before the light was switched on.

That loud click was all I heard even though I’m sure both me and Kylie were screaming. The light which should’ve been inviting and welcomed revealed a horrific site. On the once perfectly pink bedsheets was now blood, and on the white walls now read words in blood. The wall read in it’s insidious graffiti: The Beast Shall Devour All. What was the worst part though, the part I cannot forget even as I try with all my might, is seeing Lydia’s head without a body resting on the pillow staring terrified back at us.

Our screaming had alarmed the entire floor and led to the arrival of the cops. They had arrived to tell us to keep things down, but as soon as they saw the computer things changed. They found Lydia and no sign of the man who had been there. After finding one dead student and hearing about the others who had been missing classes, the police opted to check on the rooms of the missing students. Every one of them was found without a body and resting on the pillow. Every room had the same phrase etched onto the wall.

An investigation ensued, and eventually they did find something out of place. They were examining the heads and in Summer’s teeth they found DNA of someone else. They ran it through the system to find out it belonged to a man named Caleb Davidson. Davidson came from a neighboring town: Saint Pauls. He had prior assault charges on file and they caught him easily. He was said to be wearing skull face painting when they found him.

They further investigated his home and found bones of the people he’d murdered. Lydia and Summer’s bodies were identified. There were all the missing students and also many travelers from out of town. I read up on a couple of the victims. The most interesting one was Neil Anthony, he’d been taking a road trip investigating urban legends when he stumbled upon “the hill beast” in Saint Pauls. I quickly realized as I read through his blog that there was something absolutely strange about it all.

The police charged Davidson with the murders of the victims and he plead guilty. When they questioned him they discovered more strange oddities around the case. Davidson had managed somehow to get past the security of each of the dorm rooms and got the remains of the students out without notice. Davidson claimed he had been protected by the beast. The cops wrote it off as insane ramblings.

But what bothers me to this day is what was discovered about the bodies. All that was left were bones, all the meat was gone. But found on the bones, on everybody, were teeth marks of an animal. Even worse, the teeth marks on each body matched. The animal was believed to be canine but it was never found.

I had left the campus after that. I still keep in contact with Kylie, she’s switched schools too. We both got out of that mess. Just last week we met up for coffee for the first time in months. It started off as catching up, we both are graduated now and eagerly looking for good jobs. It was then that she brought up that night.

“Ya know it terrifies when I think about it,” Kylie sighed.
“I don’t think we’ll ever forget it Kylie,” I replied.
“I can’t even begin to imagine how you felt watching for all that time,” she said thinking.
“Yeah,” I continued, “Ya know I couldn’t believe it because it started out as something moving off screen and then he shut off the lights.”
“Oh my God,” she gasped, tears daring to fall.
“What’s wrong?” I asked concerned.
“He didn’t turn off the lights, I did.”

Credit To – Elysia Bloom

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O’Malley’s Family Restaurant

March 5, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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As younger siblings tend to do, I absolutely worshipped my older brother Calvin. He always seemed like the coolest person in the world to me. Everybody liked him. He was president of his class, a star baseball player, and just had an all around great personality. All the girls thought that he was such a stud, much to my surprise. And although he was older, Calvin wasn’t the stereotypical monster. I think that’s why we got along so well.

For one thing, he would never dream of hurting me in any way. When I told my psychiatrists this, they couldn’t believe it. An older brother that never once tortured his younger sister? There was no way one of those existed anywhere. But Calvin was different. His bedroom door was always open whenever I needed someone to talk to. He’d let me lie on his floor and listen to his records with him while he did his homework. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

As the two of us grew up, in a small town in the middle of Rhode Island, we only became closer. Maybe it was because of our family situation, but we both needed each other greatly. Our father was an alcoholic. He’d come home drunk most of the time, and take out all of his anger on us. Calvin never let him get to me, though. He would let me sleep with him in his bed most nights, so I wouldn’t have to hear our parents fighting through the bedroom walls alone.

Our mother was helpless, but tried her hardest. She was controlled by him, and was stuck in a bad situation. She often thought about leaving with us, but with our control freak of a dad, it was out of the question. Sadly, Mom died when I was thirteen. The autopsy showed that she had had an overdose on painkillers. They ruled it as accidental, but I was never so sure. After she was gone, our father only got worse. It got so bad that the second he graduated, Calvin moved into an apartment on the other side of town, and took me with him. Our father barely protested. I’m pretty sure he never wanted kids in the first place.

From then on, it was just Calvin and I, on our own in the big world. He attended the local community college, and worked part time at a grocery store. It wasn’t the most glamorous thing, but it helped to get food on the table. I was hard to look after. I was deeply disturbed after such a tough childhood. I wasn’t good at making friends or being friendly. But my brother never turned his back on me. We were away from our broken home, and were happy just to have each other.

It’s at this point in our lives that we made the biggest mistake we ever could. The two of us didn’t know it at the time. But to this day, I still regret picking up that phone more than anything.

It was the end of summer, around 1976. The winds were brisk, as early September was approaching fast. Calvin and I had been on our own then for about two years. I was fifteen; he was nineteen. I remember that I was sitting at the kitchen table, finishing my homework. Calvin was working on fixing frozen TV dinners. The phone was in the living room. I jumped up immediately when it started to ring.

“Hello?” I asked into the receiver. It was Joey Malone. Joey was my brother’s best friend in high school. The two of them were practically joined at the hip, until they went their separate ways for college. Joey was in Miami, and I could hear the longing for his friend in his voice. After we caught up for a brief moment, he turned serious.

“Hey, lemme talk to your brother real quick,” Joey said. “I’ve got some news that I think he might like.” I rolled my eyes playfully and handed the receiver to Calvin. I could hear my brother laughing from the living room as he caught up with his old friend. They must have been on the phone for a good hour, because I had already taken our TV dinners out of the oven and had finished mine by time Calvin walked in.

“Hey, sorry about that, Laurel,” He smiled softly, taking a seat across from me. “Man, you’ll never believe what Joey’s been up to!” I cocked an eyebrow suspiciously.

“Is he locked up in prison already?” I joked.

“No, but he might as well be. His neighbors are going away for Labor Day weekend, and he’s throwing a monster party in their house while they’re gone! He’s invited us to come and crash it! Can you believe it?” He chuckled, taking a bite of frozen chicken.

I should have known right then that we shouldn’t go. It was illegal to break into someone’s home, but even more illegal to throw a party in it. I should have known that it wasn’t a good idea. But I was naïve, fifteen-year-old girl. So of course, I agreed.

Calvin and I planned to drive up to Joey’s house. It would take us a while from Rhode Island, but the two of us were so stoked, we didn’t even care. We spent the long car ride blasting the Doors on the radio, and singing the lyrics way off key. This was definitely when I felt most content. Little did I know the terror that we’d be thrown into later that night…if I had, I would have made Calvin turn the car around and drive off a cliff.

We had been in Calvin’s truck for who knows how long. It was around nine o’ clock that night when we noticed that we were in a nowhere land. Our map said we were in New Jersey, but it didn’t seem like it.

“Are you sure we aren’t lost?” I asked my brother as I chewed a wad of bubblegum. He kept his eyes firmly on the road ahead of us, nodding his head.

“Of course we aren’t. Joey told me the directions himself.” I rolled my eyes, blowing a bubble.

We must have been driving through nothing but trees for another hour before I finally declared that we were lost. My brother had the crazy idea that his best friend was some kind of genius, but I knew better. Calvin was getting tired. I was getting restless. I had been sitting in the same position for too long, and I couldn’t feel my legs.

“Can we please pull over somewhere?” I whined.

“Don’t you think I would have about two hours ago? There’s nowhere to pull over to.” Calvin replied, stifling a cough. It turned into a slight wheeze, which caused my ears to perk up.

“Are you okay?” I asked him, concern filling my voice. He nodded, brushing it off as just a tickle in his throat. Usually that would have been enough to disinterest me. But that night, I was on full alert. Calvin had really bad asthma. I’d almost lost him many times because of it, which was scary to think about. Almost as scary as the endless road in front of us.

It was about thirty minutes later that Calvin began to get frustrated.

“Shit,” He’d grumble to himself. “That jackass had no idea what he was talking about.” I didn’t reply. I knew he wouldn’t admit that I was right. I was beginning to feel really uncomfortable with our surroundings. It was weird that we had driven hours through nothing but trees, only seeing another passing car every fifty miles or so. I didn’t want to admit it, but I was scared. Where were we going to sleep? On the side of the road? Just the thought of that creeped me out.

Both of us were hungry. At one point, Calvin had asked me to check the map to see if there were any rest stops or motels anywhere close. There weren’t. Not until it was about ten thirty. Calvin was practically falling asleep at the wheel, when my eyes fell upon a small speck on our ancient looking map.

“Calvin! Get up!” I shook him, excitement rising in my voice. “There’s a restaurant coming up in about twenty miles!” His eyes popped open.

“Are you serious?” He asked.

“Yeah! There should be an exit up ahead somewhere.” I couldn’t believe our luck. It did strike me as odd that this was the only sign of civilization for hundreds of miles, but I was so hungry, I didn’t care. I gave Calvin the directions to the place. There weren’t any signs in the pitch-black forests, but I knew that we were getting close.

Pretty soon, Calvin turned, and there it was. The place looked like your typical 1950’s styled diner. It was a small building with large glass windows, making it easy to look inside. I could see a few people sitting down. Calvin parked on the dirt road outside. I jumped out anxiously, dying to stretch my legs. It was a lot colder in that area. I pulled a sweatshirt over my head, as Calvin buttoned up his jacket. I could smell coffee and homemade pie drifting out through the sliding glass door.

Calvin and I walked side by side. As I looked up at the sign, I noticed there was another part to it that I hadn’t seen before. It flickered every now and then in the moonlight:


We stepped through the door. The floors were checkered, and the rows of red vinyl booths were almost all filled. There were a few bustly looking men over at the counter, sipping hot coffee out of mugs. A woman sat with her young daughter, the two of them giggling softly as the ate plates of pancakes. A group of teenagers in leather jackets stood over by the jukebox. One slipped a dime into it, and some ancient tune by Buddy Holly started to play.

An unbelievable feeling of dread immediately fell over me. It came out of nowhere, but it wouldn’t go away. I immediately regretted pulling up there.

I didn’t even hear the woman come up to us.

“Can I help you, kids?” Her voice was soft like butter. I glanced up and was met with the dark eyes of an elderly woman. She wore a red dress and matching shoes, a dirty apron draped over her front. Her apple doll face smiled down at us, her silver hair gleaming in the lights overhead. I didn’t speak. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t open my mouth.

“Yes, ma’am,” Calvin said with a smile. “We’d just like a quick bite to eat before we hit the road again.” He poked me in the back, and I nodded my head feebly in agreement.

“Well, come on in! My name is Millie, Millie O’Malley. Welcome to our restaurant. ” Her laugh had years of age visible in every syllable. Yet, it made me cringe.

“It’s nice to meet you, Millie. I’m Calvin Duncan, and this is my sister Laurel.” I still didn’t feel right as I reluctantly took her hand in mine. She was somebody’s grandmother. But something about her made me uneasy. I guess I got that way around anybody new that I met, but bad vibes were coming off of her.

“Laurel. That’s such a lovely name.” I managed a weak smile as Millie let out another laugh. “Well, I don’t want to keep you kids just standing around. Come on, I’ll find you two a booth.”

Calvin and Millie were talking up a storm. I hung behind them, pretending not to notice. I learned that Millie and her husband Ted had opened the restaurant a couple of years ago after retiring. She was the hostess, and he was the cook. They didn’t have any children, which is why Millie enjoyed it so much when younger people stopped in. Calvin was always so polite. He laughed at her jokes and told her our sob story. When she learned that we didn’t really have any parents, her expression changed. Almost to one of…delight.

“Oh, you poor things. Well, consider me your mother for the night.” She handed us our menus as I took a seat across from my brother in the booth. As she walked away, Calvin opened his with a smile.

“Isn’t she just the sweetest woman you’ve ever met?” He beamed, his light brown bangs falling over his eyes. I didn’t reply. I slouched down in my seat, not bothering to look at meal choices. I suddenly wasn’t hungry anymore. My eyes wandered elsewhere. I watched as the teenagers by the jukebox drank Cokes straight out of the bottle and talked amongst themselves.

“What’s the matter? Are you feeling okay?” Calvin asked, concern in his voice. I just nodded my head. I didn’t answer when he asked me what I wanted to eat. I knew that I was getting on his nerves, but I honestly couldn’t care less. When Millie came over to take our orders, I remained quiet. Calvin ordered us pancakes and hot chocolate with a warm smile. As she walked away, he turned back to me, his expression annoyed.

“What’s your deal tonight, Laurel? You’re acting like a little kid.” He snapped.

“Don’t you feel the least bit uncomfortable around her?” I raised an eyebrow. Calvin looked at me, confused.

“What are you talking about?”

“Mrs. O’Malley. Don’t you feel it? She’s weird. Something about her doesn’t seem right to me.” I don’t know how he couldn’t see it.

“She’s just being nice. God, stop acting stuck up and try to appreciate what she’s doing for us.” Calvin shot back harshly. I rolled my eyes and didn’t speak to him for the remainder of our meal. I now wish that I would have. I didn’t know then that that would be one of the last moments I would ever spend with my brother again.

When our food arrived, Calvin thanked Millie for me. I picked at my food and stared down at my shoes. Calvin pretended not to notice. We never fought. We would have squabbles, and this was one of them. Calvin was always so patient with me. But I wasn’t an easy kid to look after. I often wonder if that’s what got my father so angry. I had trust issues from growing up in a home where I didn’t feel safe. I came off as cold a lot of the time, and my brother was usually the only one who could comfort me. But even he sometimes got fed up.

“I’m going to the bathroom.” I spoke for the first time in half an hour. Calvin just nodded his head, taking a sip of his drink. I slid out of the vinyl booth and made my way to the back. I locked myself in a stall and stood against the wall. I don’t know how long I was in there. I just needed to be away from that table.

When I returned, however, Calvin was talking to Millie and who I assumed was her husband, Ted. He was a bigger man, with a few gray hairs still clinging to his balding head. His greasy apron hung over khaki pants and a green flannel shirt. They were all laughing about something, Calvin stopping to cough now and again. I walked over to the table as quietly as I could. Calvin looked up at me and smirked.

“Well, speak of the devil.” He joked, motioning for me to come sit by him. He must have forgiven me, or at least have been faking it in front of the O’Malley’s. I didn’t care. I clung to my brother tightly.

“I’ve been wondering what brought you kids all the way up here.” Millie said suddenly, her unsettling smile growing wider. “We don’t get many visitors up here.”

“We’re driving to Florida, to visit some old friends.” Calvin replied. “I’m glad that we found this place, though.” Millie glanced at Ted. He blinked, his expression changing to one of pleasure. They stayed silent for a moment, as if contemplating an answer.

“We’re a bit in the middle of nowhere, I guess,” Ted chuckled hoarsely. He was missing a few teeth. The remaining ones in his mouth were all yellow. I turned to look out the window. I watched the truck as the three of them continued to talk.

“Well, we’d really like to thank you folks for your kind hospitality. How much do I owe you?” Calvin asked, reaching for his wallet. Millie shook her head.

“No. It’s on the house.” When my brother tried to protest, she put a bony finger to his lip. He smiled in gratitude, getting up to leave. I jumped out of the booth and was just about to reach for the door, when Ted blocked my way.

“Hey, what do you kids think you’re doing? You can’t go driving out now. It’s nearly one o’ clock in the morning.” I wouldn’t know. There were no clocks or signs of time anywhere in the diner. It was like we were in the Twilight Zone. I glanced worriedly up at Calvin, trying to signal him to keep walking.

“You two look like you’ve been driving all day.” Ted continued. “I don’t think it would be wise to be behind the wheel when you’re tired. Come on in the back. We’ve got a nice little motel where you kids can stay until morning.” I froze. There was no way in hell that I was spending another second with those creeps.

“That’s alright,” I tried to object. “We’ll be fine.” But my brother wasn’t so sure.

“I don’t know, Laurel. I’m really tired, and you’re still underage. I don’t want to put our lives at risk by falling asleep at the wheel.” Calvin said feebly. I shook my head and grabbed his hand. He was stronger than me, though. I got pulled back onto the checkered floor.

“Calvin!” I tried to object. But he ignored me, and walked back to Millie.

“I think we’ll take a room for tonight.” He smiled, pushing me behind his back. Millie grinned and winked at her husband.

“Wonderful. Ted will show you two to the motel across the way. If you’ll give me your car keys, I can go fetch your luggage for you.” My mouth was dry. I watched as my brother pulled his keys out of his back pocket. I couldn’t believe it. I grabbed on to the back of Calvin’s jacket as I watched Millie walk outside. He just brushed me off.

I trailed behind hopelessly. Ted led us into another building a few feet away from the restaurant. It was smaller than the diner, but only by a little. It was also made entirely out of logs, as if Abe Lincoln had built it only weeks prior. He and Calvin were chatting away about who knows what. Ted pulled a key out of his pocket and quietly pushed the door open.

The inside of the motel was depressing. The walls were made completely out of wood, and portraits of mountain landscapes hung on them in rows. An oriental rug lay on the floor, just underneath the front desk. There was a guestbook, a cactus in a small pot and a vintage looking hand bell on top of it. I shuddered. There was a heavy draft in there, and it looked as if there had been vacancy for years.

“Well, this is the place. I don’t think its necessary to have you two sign in the guestbook, so I’ll show you up to your room.” Ted smiled, his grotesque teeth glimmering in the light. He led us up a staircase on the right side of the lobby.

The hallway was lit by a few mothy, overhead lamps. It was long, and just like the rest of the motel, wooden. There were about five rooms on each side of us, the doors closed. It was a bit dusty, which started up another round of quiet wheezing for Calvin. I rolled my eyes. He got us into this. I felt no sympathy.

“Ah. Here we are.” Ted finally exclaimed. He stood in front of a room and pulled open the door. There were two twin beds with quilt blankets and feathered pillows. The carpet was a rusty red, the wallpaper slightly peeling at the edges. Some more paintings of mountains and seasides hung around on pathetic looking nails. I swallowed thickly. Ted reached over me, placing a meaty hand on the light switch above my head. The room didn’t look any better, as it was flooded with an eerie, orange-ish light.

“It looks very homey. Thanks a lot, Ted.” Calvin smiled. I slowly descended inside and sat on one of the beds. I could distantly hear Ted telling my brother where the bathroom was, where to go for breakfast, things like that. I watched silently as Millie returned upstairs with our luggage. I must have zoned out for longer than I thought, because when I looked back, the door was closed and Calvin was unpacking our suitcases.

“We shouldn’t be here.” I spoke for the first time in what felt like forever. Calvin remained silent as he tossed me my pajamas.

“What are you going to tell Joey? We’re supposed to be at his house by tomorrow.” I heard my brother let out a loud sigh. It was the kind of sigh that your father might let out at the end of a long day.

Calvin must have sensed my uneasiness. He walked over slowly and took a seat beside me on the bed. I felt his arm wrap around my shoulder and squeeze it tightly. We didn’t say anything. He rested his chin on my shoulder. I could hear his raspy breathing in my ear.

“We’re going to be okay, Laurel. You need to sleep.” And with that, he kissed my cheek and turned back to his side of the room. We faced opposite directions as we undressed and got into our pajamas. I reluctantly slipped under the moth eaten blanket and cold sheets after sitting up in an uncomfortable silence for nearly half an hour. There was no way I was going to sleep. I looked up at the dirty ceiling for what felt like hours, listening to Calvin’s breathing.

I don’t know what time it was when I woke up. I must have dozed off, yet I don’t remember it. Calvin is what woke me up. I heard him hastily throw his quilt onto the floor. His breathing was labored, as if he had just ran a marathon. I lay up in bed.

“Cal? Are you okay?” I asked into the darkness. I didn’t get a response. The zipper to his suitcase was unzipped, and I heard my brother quickly rustling through his clothes. Eventually, he found what he was looking for and walked towards the door.

“I-I’m fine. I just need some fresh air.” Calvin gasped out, clutching his inhaler in his hand. Light flooded our room as he stepped into the hallway quietly. He had these episodes a lot. I always felt so helpless when he did. There was nothing I could do except watch with wide eyes as he struggled to breathe. I don’t know why I didn’t go after him, but I wish I would have. Those were the last words that I ever heard him speak.

He was out there for about twenty minutes before I finally walked out to check on him. It usually took him a little while to calm down from his asthma attacks.

But when I opened the door, Calvin wasn’t there.

My feet were freezing in the brisk hallway. I rubbed my arms as goose bumps started forming on my pale skin. Looking around, panic slowly started to rise in my throat. I checked in the bathroom to see if Calvin was in there. He wasn’t. There weren’t many places he could go.

“Calvin?” I called out into the hallway. There was no response. I quietly walked back into our room and put on a pair of slippers. I snuck down the hallway and raced down the staircase. He wasn’t in the lobby either.

There is no worse feeling than being completely alone in a place that you don’t know. It’s even worse when the only person you want to comfort you isn’t there. One of the hallway lamps flickered overheard. I couldn’t help the tears that streamed down my face. My mind was racing with possibilities of where my dear brother could have gone. I wondered if he had stormed off and left because I was just that annoying. I was so caught up in my panic that I didn’t see what I had tripped on. I went flying face first onto the oriental carpet. As I turned my body around to try and ease the pain, my eyes widened in shock.

Calvin’s inhaler was lying on the ground. It was just outside the door to our room, where I had seen him go out earlier. It was then that I knew that something was seriously wrong.

Calvin wouldn’t leave that lying around by choice. He wouldn’t just drop it by accident. It suddenly dawned on me that wherever he went, he went unwillingly. I let out a sob. I called out his name one more time. I reached my shaking arm out and took the inhaler in my hands. I rolled the plastic around in my palm as I stood up, placing it in my pocket. We needed to get out of there. I didn’t care if he didn’t agree. Once I found I him, we’d drive away and never come back to this fucking freak show.

I dashed back into our room and grabbed the car keys off of the bedside table. I didn’t bother grabbing anything else. My only focus was getting the hell out of there. I tiptoed down the staircase, the wood creaking underneath my feet. Pushing open the door, I ran as fast as I could towards the diner, my only exit to the outside world. The lights were still on inside, much to my surprise. I tried not to pay attention to the menacing trees leaning over me as I raced to the back door. I was prepared to pound on it until my knuckles were red and bloody, but it opened almost immediately. I quietly slipped inside.

I could see Calvin’s truck on the other side of one of the clear glass windows. It looked so close, yet so far away. I don’t know how much adrenaline was pumping through my body at that exact moment, but it took every ounce of strength I had not to just bolt then and there. The only thing that stopped me was the sound of a metal object clattering to the tiled floor behind me. It echoed loudly into my ears.

As far as I could see, there was no one besides me in the building. All of the customers were long gone. I spun around quickly. The doors to the kitchen were closed. When I tried to pry one open, it was locked. I kicked it as hard as I possibly could. I screamed out into the emptiness of the diner, for somebody, anybody, to come help me. It felt like I’d been in there for years.

A dizzying wave of nausea overtook me. I heard that object clatter again, as well as a few barely audible whispers. Someone said “Shit!” and was quickly shushed. I had to hold my breath just to hear them again. Whatever it was was close by. My neck craned, trying to peer into the kitchen once more. The glass windows were hidden behind a black curtain, hung up so I couldn’t see inside. That had not been there earlier. I snuck around behind the counter and pressed my ear against the murky walls. There was a sudden silence. And then, the shuffling of feet on the tiled floor.

I don’t know what urged me to do it. It could’ve been the adrenaline, or the hopelessness that had overwhelmingly taken over my body that night. On the counter, there were rows of ketchup bottles and silverware. I grabbed a fork out from under a napkin and clutched it in my sweaty palms. I knew there was somebody, or something, behind that window. I wasn’t alone in there. I jammed the fork onto the glass. After about thirty seconds, the glass was starting to crack. I kept banging and banging it until it shattered in front of me. The millions of pieces seemed to fall in slow motion. I didn’t step back, though. For as I pulled away the sheet, nothing on earth could prepare me for what I was about to stumble on to.

A stream of smoke poured out through the broken glass. But even through it, I could see that the O’Malley’s kitchen was a typical diner kitchen. There were a few stoves and ovens. A refrigerator in the back held week’s worth of food. But that was not what caught my attention. The overwhelming stench of burning flesh filled my nostrils. I coughed and gagged, struggling hard to get a breath out. My eyes started to tear up. I flailed my arms in an attempt to clear a path, but found myself unsuccessful. The grotesque smell made me want to puke.

“Who’s there?” I recognized the voice. It was the voice of the man who had taken Calvin and I to our rooms a couple hours before. I didn’t make a sound. I still couldn’t see, but eventually the smoke cleared through the broken window. My watery eyes soon adjusted to the florescent lighting. My mouth fell open in horror.

Ted and Millie O’Malley stood in the middle of the kitchen. There was a silver pot, about the size of a record player, resting on a table in the center. It was the first time that I got a good look around me. Blood was splattered on every inch of the walls surrounding us. It dripped down in streams and formed small puddles on the floor. There was cleaver clutched in Ted’s meaty fist, gleaming menacingly in the light. Millie stood beside him, a wooden spoon at her side. It was wet and covered in what looked like oversized worms. Intestines. I didn’t speak.

My attention turned to the pot, still boiling and bubbling. I saw my brother’s pajamas strewn into a pile in the corner. I could see clumps of his hair sticking to the sides of the pot. My feet stayed frozen in place as the stench of his burning flesh filled my head and every inch of my body. My eyes burned. My mouth was dry. I couldn’t even utter a scream.

“Grab her!” Millie snarled in a cackling voice. Ted lunged for me, but I was too quick. The fat ass fell on his front, face first into a puddle of Calvin’s blood. Millie grabbed the cleaver and threw it at the door, just as I pried it open and ran like hell. I ran outside the diner and flung open the door to the truck, jamming the keys inside. I could make out Millie’s body racing towards me in the night, but I started the car up faster. It sputtered for a moment, and then shot out like a rocket. I had no experience with driving, but that was not my top priority. I needed to find help.

Tears were streaming down my face, blocking my vision. I was having a mental breakdown as I whisked unsteadily through the New Jersey trees. I let out howls of despair. Occasionally, I’d spit up whatever food I had left in my stomach. The smell of that flesh wouldn’t leave me. I’m sure I nearly drove off the road at least three times. But I didn’t care. They had killed Calvin. They had killed my brother, and chopped him up and fucking cooked him. I pounded my head on the wheel, the horn blasting into the night. I could feel the blood trickling down the side of my face, seeping into my hair. My vision was starting to show spots.

I don’t know how long I had driven until I finally found a car on the side of the road. There was a man kneeling down to examine one of his tires. I jerked to a stop and flew out of the truck, slamming the door behind me. Vomit clung to the sides of my mouth, dried blood on my face, tears still gushing like a waterfall. He was an older man, with a wrinkled face and skunk streaks in his dark hair. I frightened him, for he stood back in fear. I knew I looked like a mess, a drug addict, whatever. I sounded like one too.

“YOU NEED TO HELP ME! THEY KILLED MY BROTHER! THEY KILLED HIM THEY KILLED HIM THEY CHOPPED HIM UP AND THEY KILLED HIM!” I remember falling to my knees and howling in pain. The man tried to pry me back up but I thrashed around in his arms. He groaned loudly as I kicked right in the gut by accident. I could distantly hear his panicked voice trying to get an answer out of me.

“Who?” He yelled through a thick Jersey accent. “Who killed your brother?”

I shook my head rapidly, gasping for air. The wind pounded at my ears as I tried to speak. The last things I could make out were his eyes gleaming in the darkness as I wheezed out the name through the pain. I fell hard to the asphalt.


They tell me that I was practically frothing at the mouth when they found me. I had blacked out for a moment, and the cops assumed I was dead. But I woke up. I was screaming for Calvin, screaming for somebody to help him, screaming for someone to believe me. Yet, to this day, no one does.

O’Malley’s Family Restaurant had been torn down in the late 1950’s. Once word got out that the seemingly friendly owners trapped their victims in their motel and ate them, it was barricaded and destroyed. Theodore and Millicent O’Malley were given the death penalty in 1956, twenty years before my brother and I pulled up that summer night. I later learned that they had killed over twenty travelers who crossed their paths, including a gang of motorcycle riders, a group of teenage greasers, and a woman with her young daughter.

When the man who found me finally brought me over to the police, I was in hysterics. I was handcuffed and thrown into the back of a patrol car. They drove me back to the exit where Calvin and I had turned earlier that night. Where the restaurant had stood mere hours earlier was just an empty lot. The sign wasn’t there. The building had disappeared. There was no motel, no sign that anybody had been there for years. It was just an empty patch of dirt, no sign of life anywhere. No sign of Calvin. I tried to explain. I cried for what felt like years. Yet, no one believed me.

The police searched for months on end, but they never did find my brother’s body. His final resting place had vanished into thin air. They never found any evidence of anything. I still had Calvin’s inhaler, in the pocket of my sweatshirt. I can’t tell you the number of times I shoved it in those cop’s faces, telling them that it was the key to finding out where he was. But I was a lost cause. They even had the audacity to accuse me of murdering him. My case was eventually out ruled due to lack of evidence, but my years of pain never stopped. The judge was convinced that I was mental and needed to be locked away. So they threw me in here, which is where I have been since the early autumn of ‘76.

I’m a grown woman now, writing this story down as a cry for help. I’m hoping that somebody out there will believe me, someone who knows what I’m talking about. I swear to God that I am not insane. I felt it. I lived it. It survived it. It’s not all in my head, yet that has been what all of these doctors and psychiatrists have been trying to convince me for years.

They said I’ve imagined it all. All this medication pumping into my body has turned my brain to mush. But I know that I didn’t. It was too real to have possibly been a dream. The only thing I still have to remember that night by is Calvin’s inhaler. I hold it on to it every day, never letting it go. It’s the only thing I have to remind myself that my brother was real. It’s the only piece of evidence that I have. It’s the only part of him that they will never be able to take away from me.

You won’t find anything about the O’Malley’s or Calvin Duncan anywhere on the Internet. It’s as if it was a tragedy meant just for us. It’s as if the whole world wants to forget. Yet, there is a road down in the midst of New Jersey. If you turn at just the right spot, you might see the ghostly hue of a diner, filled with life and joy inside. Don’t be fooled; it isn’t real. Keep driving, and don’t look back. But if you do happen to see a boy in the window, with mousy brown hair, kind eyes and a loving smile, you should wave at him. You should yell out into the night that Laurel loves him and she misses him very much.

And you should tell him that she is sorry that she couldn’t have done more.

This post was uploaded by a patient from the Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey.

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February 27, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Paul pulled the envelope out of his leather attaché case and settled into an uncomfortable chair behind a large writing desk. Late afternoon sun filtered in through the bay window but couldn’t defeat the dankness of the old house, nor the dreariness of his mood. Luckily, he had had the mind to pack a few battery powered lanterns, and one of them now provided enough illumination to examine his mother’s ornate handwriting on the back of the envelope.

“For Paul” it read. He traced the letters with his fingers, each one written with care and love. Pensively, he squeezed the bridge of his nose and released an exhausted breath. He had admittedly taken the loss of his mother very hard, as she was a kind, bright, thoughtful woman taken way before her time – but he was a lucky man, and had married a woman who exuded those same qualities and had been blessed with a daughter whose genes seemingly came from the women in his family.

He had received the envelope several weeks before at the allocation of mother’s will. Its content undoubtedly was a letter, most likely full of sage advice and love. He had agonized over opening it, though, as he was unable to come to terms with reading his mother’s final words, but his wife, Lauren, had finally convinced him that they might provide comfort rather than sadness.

With final resolve, he retrieved a dusty letter opener from the desk and began to read the handwritten letter.

To my dearest Paul,

There are not enough words in the dictionary to express my love for you, Lauren, and your sweet baby Emily. I only hope that I have shown you that love over your twenty five years of life. My health may be fading, but know that I will always be with you, and that I’m sorry for what I’m about to reveal to you. I fear though that there isn’t enough forgiveness on God’s green Earth for what I’ve done.
If you are reading this, that means that my final will and testament have been executed and you are probably surprised to find that you are now the owner of a small farm house in Creekside, Pennsylvania. It is the house that I grew up in. Heed my words, Paul – Do not go to that house. Put the deed in the back of your safe, claim it as an asset, but otherwise forget that it exists. You may be curious to see the childhood home of your mother, but please – Do not go to that house.
I’m going to tell you why, Paul, and you may not have the same respect for me afterwards, but it is imperative that you understand the gravity of the situation.
My parents and I had moved from that house when I was around fifteen to live with Aunt June. However, when I was a few years younger than you are now, fresh out of college, I was offered a teaching position at a school a few towns over from that childhood home. You know my parents both passed away shortly after we had moved to California, and now I’m telling you that they too had left me that house in their will – but they never provided me with the knowledge I’m about to bestow upon you, my poor, sweet Paul.
Out of convenience, I moved into the house several weeks before summer ended. The town hadn’t changed much; it was still secluded, surrounded by forest, and its residents were still fairly strange and private. They did remember who I was, though, and they definitely remembered the accident that caused my family to leave.
As I was buying some groceries, the woman behind the counter recognized me and told me that I shouldn’t have come back and strongly suggested that I should turn around and leave right then and there. She grabbed me by the hand forcefully to express her urgency. There was a scar on her arm, just like the one I bear – the one I told you I got from falling off of my bike as a little girl. I was admittedly a little freaked out, but not enough to take her advice. That whole town is a little kooky, and at the time I thought I was being shunned for what happened when I was a teenager, but there was a fearfulness in her tone that has sat with me all these years.
The house had remained untouched for 8 years, and I spent that first day cleaning a thin film of dust off of everything. I was exhausted by nightfall, and, feeling that it was awkward to sleep in my parents’ old bedroom, I opted for my old one on the first floor. Because my room was small, my bed was flush against the wall, partially covering the only window in its length. A dresser and vanity were against the parallel wall. I remember collapsing into that bed that night, my body aching from moving boxes and cleaning.
I’m not sure what initially woke me up that night, Paul. I don’t recall a noise that pulled me from slumber, but I was overwhelmed by a feeling that I was not alone. Moonlight through the window cast shadows, but after a quick scan I knew the room was devoid of life save for me.
And then I saw it. In the vanity mirror. A reflection of the window. And looking in through the window was a creature that should not exist. That cannot be from this world. Too horrible for words. Just know, Paul, that this thing was evil. Even in the pale light you could see the vile intentions in its inky eyes and snarling, fanged mouth. It looked excited. And hungry. Its grey hands pressed against the glass, each elongated, alien finger leaving a filmy residue behind as it dragged its claw-like nails down the window.
My back was turned to it, my feet only a few inches away from its face – separated by a thin plane of glass. I watched it feverishly watch me through the mirror. Unable to tell if it was aware that I knew it was there, I nonetheless felt like it was waiting for me to move. I, however, was frozen with fear. Honestly, if something by the grace of God hadn’t stirred me from my sleep, the sound of its screeching nails would have woken me. I was able to quell a surprised reaction and remained still.
Maybe it was minutes, maybe it was hours, but the thing finally left.
I’d be lying to you if I told you that was the first time I ever saw it, though. I’m so sorry, Paul.
There are 3 creeks that run parallel in the woods that surround the town, a few miles apart from one another. Of all the rules given to us children of Creekside, the most important one was that we were not allowed to pass the second creek and we were strongly urged not to venture too far past the first one. My parents told me there were old foundations and wells that made it dangerous for us kids to play there and that several children had gone missing in the woods, but it was apparent that the adults of town never crossed the second creek either. A few people who had risked getting close to the second creek claimed they had seen ghosts amongst the trees, and that lore alone was enough to convince us kids to stay close to town.
My best friends growing up were Jimmy and Andy. Jimmy, you know, would later become your father, but Andy was always a bit of daredevil and troublemaker, and I was an impressionable young girl. One day, Andy has stolen a few of his dad’s cigarettes and the three of us went into the woods like a bunch of stupid hardasses to smoke them. Andy got the crazy idea that we needed to rebel even more and explore the woods past the second creek. Jimmy and I were scared, for it had been so engrained in us to never do it, but Andy was persuasive.
Andy crossed the ancient looking bridge over the second creek first, cigarette in mouth. Jimmy and I delayed across from him. It became clear that Jimmy wasn’t going to do it. He threw a rock at Andy, called him an idiot and started walking up the path towards town.
I begged Andy to come back with us, and I must have thrown my head back in frustration when he teased me. That’s when I saw it. The grey, gargoyle-like creature. It was perched in a tree, not too far away from where Andy was standing. It looked like a vulture eyeing its prey. I had barely started to scream when it leapt from the tree and tackled Andy to the ground.
Jimmy ran back to my side, but neither of us had any idea what to do, let alone how to comprehend the fear. I could hear Andy screaming and fighting, and I swear, Paul, that sound has never left my ears. I grabbed a rock and ran across the bridge. I hit the thing over the head, but it swiftly knocked me back into the water. I struggled but Jimmy pulled me out on the other side just in time to see the creature make off with Andy’s limp body through the trees.
I don’t know how long Jimmy and I sat there in shock, but the stars were out when we reached my house. We told our worried parents and the other adults who had gathered there our story. All of them seemed more shocked that Andy and I had crossed the creek than by descriptions of the creature. Jimmy’s mom let out a cry of relief when she realized her boy had not crossed – but my parents – my parents started packing up loose belongings and clothing hastily. We left town that night, and drove the whole way Aunt June’s, only stopping once, outside of Chicago. My parents died only sixth months later from a disease that doctors couldn’t identify.
I was young, and didn’t understand. Everything was a blur and I couldn’t discern one emotion and memory from another. At some point, I started believing that Andy had fallen in the creek and hit his head on a rock, and that my parents’ passing was an awful coincidence. It was easier to cope that way.
And then I saw that hideous face in the window like it had claimed me nearly a decade before and had been waiting for me ever since. I was relieved when it left, but fearful for I did not know where it had gone. I remained frozen the rest of the night.
Early the next morning, a knock came from the front door. I hesitated, gripped again by fear, but it was Jimmy. A nostalgic reunion was halted by his urgency to discuss something with me. I knew what it was before he even sat at the kitchen table. I wasn’t prepared for what he was about to tell me, though, Paul. I’ll spare you the details, and tell you only what you need to know.
This thing that lives in the woods has been there for a really long time, Jimmy says, far before the original settlement of Creekside. Nobody knows exactly where it came from, or much else about it, only that it was responsible for the vicious deaths of many of the town’s children. It likes young blood, Jimmy told me. Nobody could figure out a way to kill it either.
But the thing was conniving, and sentient, and realized that if the people left, its food would too. On the other hand, the townspeople feared that wherever they went, the creature would follow. So a deal had been made in blood. Anything that moved between the oval the second and third creek created belonged to the creature, and in turn, the creature would never harm anything that didn’t cross that boundary.
Jimmy told me I belonged to the creature because I had crossed the bridge, and my parents had been killed because they betrayed the pact. You see, Paul, it’s a curse. I know it’s hard to believe.
It didn’t take me long to make the decision to leave Creekside again. Jimmy didn’t know definitively what geographically bound the creature, but had done enough research to estimate that it only travelled within the confines of Creekside and nearby townships. He had also discovered similar tales of creatures around the world. These things are all over the place, and – I’m sorry, Paul. This is not important now. Check the files within your father’s study, they’ll tell you more than you need to know. Don’t delve too deep, though. It was his obsession with it that cost him his life – not the car accident I lied to you about. I’m so, so sorry.
Jimmy helped me throw a few boxes into my car, and promised to meet me again soon. I turned around a last time to share a moment of silent solitude with him before I got in my car. As I turned back, I could see terror transform his face. He called my name, but I didn’t have appropriate time to react. The creature bounded from the woods and leapt to the roof of my car.
It crouched, dropping its face to be even with mine. Sneering, its rancid breath smelled of dried blood. My knees weakened and buckled as Jimmy swooped in to tackle the thing off of the roof. Jimmy fought with all his might, but wasn’t a match and ended up crumpled a few feet away from me. In hysterics, I tried to flee but quickly found I had nowhere to run. The thing caught me promptly and dragged me into the woods with little effort. Jimmy composed himself enough to start running after us, screaming for me to make a deal. I lost consciousness before I could make sense of what Jimmy was telling me, a fleeting memory of Andy whispering in my mind.
Paul, please remember how much I love you as you struggle to manage the final parts of my story.
A small fire blinded me as I awoke on cold, damp ground, surrounded by trinkets of times gone by. An old wind up children’s toy. A few dog collars. Andy’s engraved lighter. Bones were littered everywhere.
The creature sat squat across from me, watching me zealously. It was muttering anxiously and rocking on its wolfish feet. I was surprised, as ancient as Jimmy told me this thing was, to find that it spoke English. “Spoiled,” it said, gravelly. “You spoiled.” I remember its coal eyes following me as I nervously brought myself to a sitting position. “I knew it was you. Too old now. Spoiled.”
I seemed to be in a cavern of some sort with two tunnels that faded to blackness, neither discernable as the exit. I haven’t forgotten its words, nor the look in its eyes when it stopped rocking. “You can’t leave. You are mine. You belong to me. You crossed the water. But you are too old to eat. You spoiled.”
Realizing the thing was contemplating over whether to kill me or not, Jimmy’s screams strained through my head, and I understand that he had meant for me to make a deal with the creature for my life. The creature liked to bargain. So I asked it, Paul, what it wanted in exchange for letting me go.
It thought awhile, before it smiled maliciously. It wanted one of my children, and one of my children’s children. I wondered if this thing had been around long enough to inspire Rumpelstiltskin. I don’t know, Paul, but I took that deal. I nodded my head, and agreed that when I had children, I would bring one of them to the creature, and if I had grandchildren – I would sacrifice one of them as well. It might seem like a rough bargain, but it would get two for letting one go.
You might be sickened now, Paul, but realize that after considering the offer thoughtfully, I simply intended to just never have children. I resolved to give up becoming a mother. I thought I had tricked it.
The creature took my hand, cutting its claw deep into my forearm creating a brand that would bond me for life. Then, it simply let me go. Jimmy, and several others he had gathered, waited at the bridge. None of them asked me how I survived, for they all knew by the scarlet letter on my arm.
As you know, Jimmy would leave Creekside and settle with me near Aunt June in California. On good conscience, I couldn’t sell the house and put another family in the vicinity of that evil thing. I had become resigned to the fact that I had to abandon the opportunity of motherhood, but could never bring myself to permanently and medically destroy the chance of pregnancy. I just couldn’t do it, Paul.
And Jimmy and I were careful, even after we married. But, several years later, I became pregnant with you. And your twin brother, Andrew.
I know that’s a shock. I’m not proud of what I did, Paul, and I regret never telling you about your brother. I knew, though, that the creature would take me, as it did my parents, if I betrayed our deal. The scar on my arm burned long before I gave birth to you. I took that baby, Paul, that infant, only a few days old. I took him back to Creekside and left him on the other side of the bridge on the second creek. I am unworthy of forgiveness, and to this day, the memory induces nausea and unbearable heartbreak. It was an evil thing for me to do, but it let me watch you grow up into the man you are. I’ve given you every ounce of goodness I could.
And that’s why I’m dying, Paul. I knew Lauren was with child a month before you announced it because the scar on my arm was on fire – reminding me of my dues. I can’t pay them this time. I can’t do that to you, or sweet Emily. I have lived my life, and only hope that I can be reunited with your father and Andrew on the other side. I fear that my actions have provided for more insidious consequences, however.
I will repeat my initial warning, Paul. Do not go to that house in Creekside. Only evil waits there. I can’t bear to imagine if the creature is able to reach Emily. Our sweet, sweet Emily.
I love you, Paul, with my whole heart.
I am so sorry, but do not deserve your forgiveness.
– Mom

Paul put the letter down on the writing desk. He could distinguish disturbed and disgusted emotions amongst a primal fear and sadness. He couldn’t categorize and understand his thoughts.

He was unable to tell if these emotions were targeted towards his mother or himself.

His mother had made some awful and anguishing decisions, sure, but he probably should have read the letter before he brought his wife and daughter to this place.

Suddenly, his mother’s childhood house seemed a little darker. Dazed, he tried desperately to grasp the connotations of his mother’s letter.

The sound of glass smashing broke his stupor – The sound of glass shattering, the ferocity of his wife’s screams, and the fading wail of his daughter’s cries.

Credit To – Bnlala

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February 26, 2015 at 12:00 AM
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Recognition without context.

A wall. A painting. A fireplace. A lamp.

I see these things and I know them, but I do not know why. Who once told me what a fireplace is and what it is for? How do I recognize it without memory, and yet have visions in my mind’s eye of it crackling with light and warmth?

I fear the lighting of it for I have been nothing but a coldness. I feel as though I am made of drifts of snow dyed black by shadow and can feel my mind only in the darkness. That is why I sweep through the hallways at night and break the bulbs in the low lights. I cannot think while they are lit, and I must think. I must find an answer.

Something stirs.

It is a doll with black hair, dressed in pyjamas. I have seen the dolls before. This one is the smallest. It goes into the kitchen and I follow, keeping a reasonable distance. I am intrigued by the dolls and their clockwork movements – in and out of their beds, to and from the doors, sitting at the dining room table with their plates and cups. Their forms give them advantages I do not have, and I watch them often.

The doll goes to the kitchen while I follow behind. Its tiny body is radiant with sleep, and its shoeless feet make almost no noise as it goes to the refrigerator door and opens it. Light spills out onto the doll and onto me. I cannot have that, my mind has been so focused tonight. Anger and desperation surge within me, bracing me forward as I wrench the door handle from the little doll and slam the refrigerator shut.

This is when the doll falls into me. The force of the blow knocking it backwards, into the center of me. I feel its pulse, the rhythm of its heart, the soothing draw of its breath. My memory mingles with something inside of the little head, and I can see new green grass, streams full of fish, muddy rubber boots, a sky and a world beyond the upstairs, downstairs and basement of this place.

How desperate I am to see more! To take all of the memories inside of this doll and make them my own, expanding my knowledge and answering the secrets of this existence. But it is only seconds between the push that closes the door and the doll landing harshly on the stone floor.

It begins to wail, to sob, to mewl like an injured kitten.

I can hear the rest of them, marching down the stairs and leaving a trail of light behind them. There is little time to flee, so I open all of the cupboards at once, searching desperately for a corner of darkness to hide in before…

The electric light of the kitchen is switched on.

Credit To – Susan Eckland

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